FerroFluid Valve

Invention Coach:

Robert L. Read

Public Inventor(s):

Veronica Stuckey


A solid-state pump would be extremely valuable as something that could be made “on-a-chip”. This micro-scale application would allow fluid manipulation on a very small scale.

The basic idea that there may be frequency-effects on ferrofluid does not seem to have been written about much. That is, ferrofluid in a rapidly oscillating magnetic field may behave in interesting ways that allow magical things to be done. The iron nanonparticles within ferrofluid align themselves quickly with a magnetic field, but not instantaneously. A magnetic field modified on the time scale of this alignment could create unique situations. For example, there might be a certain frequency at which two varying coils could create an assymetric force on the fluid. If two or more simple coils around a pipe filled with ferrofluid could drive the fluid in one direction based on high-freqnecy oscillation, then it would be quite an acheivement. It is possible this is not possible in a simple tube, but may be possible in combination with an assymetric geometric, as we have successfully shown in our design file in Github.


This is our attempt at designing a passive ferrofluid one-way valve. If this is accomplished successfully, then it would be much easier to make a pump-on-a-chip for some microfluidic labs/researchers. My previous attempts to do this were deeply flawed (see below), but these flaws have been addressed and revised in our current design.

I am now attempting to build a (very simple) physics simulation of planar ferrofluid to test out some additional ideas before 3D printing. This was inspired by a Public Invention volunteer, Veronica S, who did the initial CAD design compiled from my previous thoughts, causing me to realize some flaws to the initial design proposal.


Highly active

Skills Needed

3D drafting skills, simulation work in Solidworks, a basic understanding of physics II principles, and some comprehension of the basics behind one-way valves for microfluidic devices

Quarterly Goals

  • Write the paper describing our recent success and submit it to a peer-reviewed academic journal.
  • Publish Veronica’s video on YouTube and promote it.